Managing asbestos

How to identify and manage the risk from asbestos.

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Many people worry about the health risks of asbestos, but as long as the asbestos is in good condition there is no need to worry.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is found naturally in rock formations around the world.  It is made up of lots of small fibres.

Why could Asbestos be a problem?

Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are generally safe and not a health risk if they are in a good state of repair and left undisturbed.  However, if they are damaged or broken, they can release fibres into the air.

Is asbestos dangerous to my health?

Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe.  If the fibres are enclosed or tightly bound in a material, there is no significant health risk.

Why would I have asbestos in my home?

Asbestos fibres are strong, durable and resistant to heat and chemicals and that’s why asbestos was added to a wide range of building materials, mainly between the 1950s and the 1980s.  It is not found in its pure form but added to other materials, such as plastic, plaster and cement to create asbestos containing materials.  Although there has been a dramatic decline in asbestos use since the early 1980’s, asbestos products are found in most homes.  It is now a banned substance.

Asbestos is rarely found in properties built since the year 2000.

Can I be exposed to Asbestos?

People can put themselves at risk, often without realising it, if they are not taking proper precautions when repairing or renovating areas that disturb materials containing asbestos.  Your letting pack contains information on where asbestos is if it is in your home.  Always refer to it before doing any work e.g. hanging pictures or putting up a shelf.  Do not undertake any work that will disturb an asbestos containing material.

Who is at risk?

We are all exposed to low amounts of asbestos which are present in the atmosphere.  The Health and Safety Executive consider these levels to be safe and unlikely to cause problems.  The people most at risk from asbestos are those who are exposed to high levels of asbestos fibres over a long period of time.

Contractors are particularly at risk, due to the high risk of coming into contact with asbestos containing materials.  Plumbers, electricians and maintenance staff are in the high risk category.

What precautions should I take to avoid exposure to asbestos?

Asbestos fibres can get into the air during DIY work at home, such as drilling and sawing.  Always contact Chorus Homes before carrying out any work.  Never try to remove, sand, scrape, drill or saw without permission.

Where might asbestos be most commonly found in my home?

Asbestos is found in a variety of products.

Outside your home:

  • roof sheets and tiles
  • exterior cladding
  • guttering and drain pipes
  • flue pipes and terminals

Inside your home:

  • electrical distribution boards and fuses
  • plastic floor tiles
  • textured wall and ceiling coatings
  • underside of stairs
  • lagging around pipe work and hot water cylinders
  • water tank
  • fireplace panels
  • bath panels
  • boiler flue pipe lining and boards on the back of boilers, bath panels and boxing of service pipes

How do I tell if I have asbestos in my home?

You cannot tell just by looking if something contains asbestos.  In recent years new products have been developed without asbestos, but look very similar to materials they have replaced.

The only way to tell if something contains asbestos is by testing a sample of the material. This should only be done by a trained surveyor.

How does Chorus Homes manage asbestos?

We have undertaken a survey of all the different types of property we own.  A record of all the areas where asbestos might be in your home is provided to all new tenants (see below if you need a copy).  If we need to undertake a repair to your home we will test any materials that might contain asbestos and manage the work accordingly.  This might mean a small delay in completing the work while we engage a suitably qualified company to undertake the work safely.

Communal areas have all been individually tested and are regularly re-surveyed to check for deterioration.

If you would like a copy of your survey please get in touch.

Please remember that asbestos does not pose a risk as long as it isn’t damaged.

What should I do if I suspect any asbestos containing materials are damaged?

Contact the asset management team as a matter of urgency, who will take appropriate action.  If you suspect there is damaged asbestos and it is in an internal room, vacate the room and close the doors.  Leave it sealed until our representative can attend site to investigate further.

Further information

For more information please get in touch.  Or you can get more information from the Health & Safety Executive website.